Marcel Duchamp, Fresh Widow, 1920/1960 © Succession Marcel Duchamp / Bildupphovsrätt 2016

Historical Background

Some thirty works in Moderna Museet’s collection are attributed to Marcel Duchamp, which makes it one of the world’s leading collections of Duchamp works next to the holdings of the Philadelphia Museum of Art in the USA. Moderna Museet also holds some of the earliest replicas made by Ulf Linde (1929–2013), replicas that were made before the art historian and collector Arturo Schwartz and the artist Richard Hamilton produced their reconstructions of Marcel Duchamp’s works.

Marcel Duchamp became aquinted with Moderna Museet through a short correspondence with a young Karl G. (Pontus) Hultén (1924–2006) in the mid 1950’s. Pontus Hultén later became the director of the museum in 1959 and worked as such until 1972. In 2005 Hultén donated his archive, library and art collection to Moderna Museet. Among his letters this early correspondence is found.

Hulténs chief interest in Duchamp emanated from his allover interest in artworks that incorporated movement. In 1961 Moderna Museet organized the exhibition Movement in Art [Rörelse i konsten] in collaboration with Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, where it was on display under the name of Bewogen Beweging from 10 March until 16 April 1961. It came to Stockholm on 16 May and was on show until 10 September. Marcel Duchamp arrived in Stockholm to the opening and stayed for ten days.

The concept of Movement in Art derived from a number of minor exhibitions during the 1950’s in Stockholm and Paris which introduced and assembled artistic works that went beyond the established image of modern art at that time. Hultén wanted the The Large Glass on loan from Philadelphia, which was not possible. Ulf Linde and the artist Per Olof Ultvedt (1927–2006) were therefore commissioned to produce a reconstruction, which Linde completed in consultation with Duchamp, who also signed it.

Movement in Art included ten works by Marcel Duchamp, four of them reconstructions from 1960 or 1961. Three of these still belong to the collection. In addition to The Large Glass they are Rotary Glass Plaques (1920/1961), a replica by Pontus Hultén, Per Olof Ultvedt and Magnus Wibom (1939–2010) and donated by them in the same year, as well as Roue de bicyclette (1913/1960), which was donated in 1961 by Ulf Linde and Per Olof Ultvedt. The work entitled Door, 11 rue Larrey (1927/1961), a replica by Pontus Hultén and Daniel Spoerri, was destroyed after the exhibition, but Fresh Widow (1920/1960) has survived from that period, also a donation from Ulf Linde.

This is where Ulf Linde began his lifelong interest in Marcel Duchamp’s oeuvre, which has resulted in the intimate links between his research into and interpretations of the artist’s works and Moderna Museet’s Duchamp collection. Ulf Linde had a background as a jazz musician, art critic in Dagens Nyheter, a Stockholm daily, and teacher at the Academy of Art in Stockholm. He was a curator at Moderna Museet between 1973 and 1976 and then, from 1977, Director of the Thiel Gallery on Djurgården for almost twenty years.

This brief presentation based on Moderna Museet’s Duchamp collection shows that there is justification for further research into the significance of Marcel Duchamp’s contacts in Sweden for the reception of his work from the 1960 onwards.

About the exhibition Picasso/Duchamp at Moderna Museet 2012–2013

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